AMA Wire

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Special Feature

Help shape AMA policy from anywhere through online forums

AMA members can weigh in on key policy issues facing medicine from the comfort of their homes or offices via online forums.

The AMA House of Delegates will consider these policy issues—in the form of more than 200 reports and resolutions—June 16–20 in Chicago during the AMA's Annual Meeting. The online forums, also known as "virtual reference committees," allow physicians and medical students, delegates and non-delegates alike, to add their voices to the AMA policy discussion at their convenience.

"(The forums) allowed me to participate at the times I wanted to participate," Kenneth Crabb, MD, a member of the AMA House of Delegates from Minnesota, said in a video about the forums (see above).

Added Robyn Chatman, MD, a former reference committee chair from Ohio: "(The virtual reference committees) allow us to accomplish our goal of including the comments and concerns of physicians who can't get away from their practices. They get to weigh in on the issues that we're going to deliberate on, and I think that's absolutely critical."

Members also can provide testimony in person during any of the eight reference committees that will meet June 17 as part of the Annual Meeting. View the schedule.

Following are the resolutions generating the most discussion so far:

  • "Obesity Should be Considered a Chronic Medical Disease State." Add to the discussion in Reference Committee A (login required); read the resolution.
  • "Repeal IPAB and Replace It With a Body With Adequate Physician Representation." Add to the discussion in Reference Committee B; read the resolution.
  • "Less Costly Alternatives to Maintenance of Specialty Board Certification." Add to the discussion in Reference Committee C; read the resolution.
  • "Appropriate Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Home Patients Without Penalty." Add to the discussion in Reference Committee E; read the resolution.
  • "Effect of Computers in the Exam Room on Physician-Patient Communication." Add to the discussion in Reference Committee G; read the resolution.

Here's how the AMA House makes policy:

  1. State and specialty societies draft and submit a resolution(s) for consideration.
  2. The resolution is assigned to a reference committee based on the topic. (A reference committee is somewhat similar to a congressional committee.)
  3. Comments on the resolution are accepted online from AMA members and delegates.
  4. Based on the comments, the reference committee drafts a preliminary report for consideration by the committee at the Annual Meeting in Chicago on June 17.
  5. The committee drafts a final report for the full House to consider.
  6. That report is debated in the full House of Delegates, and the House decides on the final disposition.

View a graphic that shows how the House sets policy.

Use this opportunity now to influence AMA policy via the AMA's secure online forum. Comments will be accepted until June 3. To access the online reference committees, either log in with your AMA account or create an account if you don't have one.